AABANY Celebrates Lunar New Year at MSG with the Knicks

On Tuesday, January 24, forty AABANY members, family and friends celebrated Lunar New Year at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The night was filled with memorable moments: The New Asia Chamber Music Society performed the national anthem and there was a special lion dance performance during halftime. Two of our members caught t-shirts that were fired into the crowd by cannons and during the third quarter AABANY even got a shoutout on the Garden Vision big screen. And to cap it all off, the Knicks won a nail biter by a score of 105-103.

Thanks to the Membership Committee for organizing another successful event and shoutout to the Asia Practice, Bankruptcy, Career Placement, Mentorship, Military & Veterans Affairs, Women’s, and Young Lawyers Committees for co-sponsoring.

AABANY Hosts Membership Open House At King & Spalding LLP

On July 28, 2022, AABANY hosted its first-ever Membership Open House at King & Spalding LLP. With over 50 attendees, the Membership Open House gave new and prospective members the opportunity to speak with Board Members and Committee Chairs to learn about the work AABANY does and how new and prospective members can get involved.

Membership Director Christopher Bae in his introductory remarks welcomed attendees and thanked Board Members and Committee Chairs for coming. Former AABANY President Andy Hahn (2004) then highlighted the importance of getting involved with an organization like AABANY.

This AABANY Membership Open House spotlighted the Young Lawyers Committee, the Litigation Committee, and the Prosecutors Committee. Jasmine Chean from the Young Lawyers Committee, Lois Ahn from the Litigation Committee, and David Hsin-Tai Chiang from the Prosecutors Committee each spoke on why members should get involved with their committees.

Attendees were encouraged to network, enjoy food and drinks, and meet with the chairs of 23 committees that were present at the Open House. New and recent members were given the opportunity to participate in a raffle where two winners won either a Zoom or coffee meet-and-greet with former AABANY Presidents Andy Hahn (2004) or Brian Song (2019). Congratulations to Tian Chi Ma who won the raffle to meet Andy and to Stephanie Lu who won the raffle to meet Brian.

Thank you to King & Spalding LLP for hosting AABANY’s Membership Open House, and thank you to former AABANY Presidents Andy Hahn and Brian Song for volunteering for the new member raffle! Thank you to Co-Vice Presidents of Programs & Operations Joseph Eng, Jr. and Beatrice Leong, and Membership Director Christopher Bae for putting together this successful event!

We look forward to seeing everyone at the next Open House in October. In the meantime, if you have any questions about how to get more involved in AABANY and maximize your membership experience, feel free to reach out to the Membership Committee at membership@aabany.org.

AABANY’s Annual Picnic Returns to Central Park on August 13

On August 13, 2022, the Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) Co-Chairs, Jasmine Chean, Jimmy Kang, Jenny Park along with Vice Chair of Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee Yifeng Chen planned and organized AABANY’s Annual Picnic in Central Park. This was the first time in three years that AABANY held the picnic in Central Park. We could not have asked for better weather for this return: The temperature was in the low 80s with no humidity. The Spector Playground Lawn, where the picnic took place, had shade from the trees to keep the guests cool.

Over 55 guests attended, and AABANY members brought their children, siblings, spouses, and even their parents to enjoy the perfect picnic weather. YLC Co-Chairs ordered dumplings from Vanessa’s Dumplings and provided sandwiches and snacks for the guests to enjoy.

Board Members in attendance included Andy Yoo, the Board Liaison for the YLC, Vice President of Programs & Operations Beatrice Leong, and Board Director David Sohn. It was David’s 40th Birthday, and he made time to bike to the park to say ‘hi’ to members and guests!

Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chair May Wong sold kites and toys to fundraise for the Pro Bono Clinic.

We thank everyone who made it out on a beautiful Saturday to celebrate this annual event with us, and we thank the leaders from the YLC and the Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee for all their hard work to make it happen.

For more information about YLC, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/123. For more information about the Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/111.

To see all the photos from the picnic, go to:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/wDsx62GrLhnK7ry16

AABANY Goes to the Opera: “Turandot” at the Met

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is d0b41f4a-41b7-40f1-b027-702316c0e8fa-1-1024x768.jpg

On Tuesday, November 16, AABANY went to the Met Opera at Lincoln Center, an elegant night out co-sponsored by the Membership and Young Lawyers Committees.  “Turandot” proved to be a spectacular feast for the eyes, dappled with humor, tragedy, and an age-old story of unrequited love, sacrifice, and pursuit.  

More than 45 members and guests enjoyed some lighthearted networking on the Family Circle level before the start of the show, and photos were taken against the famous chandeliers of the Opera House.  The experience was enhanced with each person having their own personal subtitles, dimly lit on the backs of the seats in front of them.  Some played with various language settings, to see if in fact, they retained their Italian lessons from high school.  

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is f8bf6755-6eba-4e8e-b273-444b0d542ee0-1-768x1024.jpg

The sets were stunning and the score by Puccini was exquisite.  Not a soul wasn’t moved during Act III when the famous “Nessun Dorma” tenor aria vibrated throughout the theater. 

Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks especially to Membership Director Beatrice Leong for organizing the event.  Fun fact: Daphne Chen Matthews, Membership Committee Co-Chair, met both the left and right stage managers on her way home, who confirmed that Turandot “is a perfect introduction to Opera.”  We hope to host more opera nights in the future.

To learn more about the Membership Committee go to http://www.aabany.org/?page=130. To learn more about the Young Lawyers Committee go to http://www.aabany.org/?page=123.

AABANY Rooftop Picnic on Oct. 2

On October 2, AABANY members and their friends gathered at the rooftop of One Union Square South for a BBQ event co-sponsored by the Young Lawyers Committee and the Litigation Committee. The BBQ was held in lieu of the annual AABANY Picnic that was canceled earlier in the year due to inclement weather warnings. Luckily, the weather was sunny and breezy during the entire BBQ event, which ran from 12 PM to 3 PM, and everyone attending had a great time catching up and connecting, some of them meeting each other for the first time after only seeing each other over Zoom during the pandemic.

It was the first in-person gathering hosted by the Young Lawyers Committee in 2021. Although the event size was capped at 30 persons, the intimate size of the event allowed for all attendees to meet and connect with one another as they enjoyed a beautiful day grilling and enjoying an assortment of food and desserts.  

Special thanks to the Young Lawyers Committee, and the co-chairs, Jane Jeong, Sheila Shen, and Janet Jun, for planning and organizing this event. Thanks also to the Litigation Committee for co-sponsoring the event. Both committees thank everyone for coming and spending part of their Saturday with AABANY at the rooftop BBQ, which was a wonderful reminder of the tremendous value of in-person bonding and building relationships. The Young Lawyers Committee is working to host additional small in-person events throughout the year. To learn more about the Young Lawyers Committee, click here. To learn more about the Litigation Committee, click here.

Young Lawyers Committee Hosts “Attorney Well-Being During COVID-19” Event

On April 15, AABANY’s Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) hosted a fireside chat titled “Attorney Well-Being During COVID-19.” In the face of isolating social distancing protocols and prolonged remote working arrangements, Committee Co-Chair Janet Jun organized and moderated the event in hopes of spurring more dialogue on the subject of wellness in the legal profession. Janet was joined by former AABANY President Glenn Lau-Kee and YLC Co-Chair Jane Jeong, who also hosts and produces The Whole Lawyer Podcast. At the intersection of law and wellness, Glenn serves as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being, and Jane is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Wellness Committee. Together, the speakers led a candid discussion about the current state of mental health awareness, challenges in the legal profession, and tips for achieving attorney wellness during COVID-19 and beyond.

Janet kickstarted the discussion by asking about the promises and pitfalls of current efforts to improve wellness in the legal profession. Glenn spoke optimistically about NYSBA’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being, which consists of nine working groups, each dedicated to a specific wellness issue. As the head of the working group on bar associations, Glenn described the end goal of the Task Force as a wholesale culture change in the legal profession. Glenn observed that attorneys tend to experience higher levels of stress than other professionals, with young lawyers bearing the brunt of this pressure. While larger law firms have established more initiatives to promote lawyer well-being, small firms and solo practitioners are disadvantaged by limited resources. In this context, Glenn identified bar associations as a possible avenue for equalizing wellness resources. 

Diverging from Glenn’s opinion, Jane insisted that personal connections — not institutional initiatives — are the proper foundation for a more comprehensive culture of wellness. Invoking the fireside chat as an example, Jane stated that change starts at the individual level, with the creation of safe spaces for authentic conversations about personal mental health struggles.

Janet continued the discussion by asking about the source of rampant anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in the legal profession. Glenn broke the problem down into three factors: (1) a lack of boundaries for down time, (2) client expectations and demands, and (3) financial pressures. Jane connected the first and third factors, explaining that the billable hour gives lawyers a systematic incentive to work ceaselessly. Deeming many lawyers to be perfectionists who are conditioned to tie their self-worth to external accomplishments, Jane also said that self-selection bias contributes to a workaholic legal culture.

AABANY Board Member Andy Yoo joined the discussion by asking about ways in which clients can help drive change. Glenn and Jane both responded by stating that leadership buy-in is an essential catalyst for change. As Jane explained, how CEOs and CLOs treat their employees trickles down to how employees treat external counsel.

Cynthia Lam, AABANY’s Co-Vice President of Programs and Operations, then asked the speakers to share their personal strategies for maintaining well-being. Glenn emphasized the community aspect of any individual effort to promote self-care. He urged lawyers to look beyond their own team members, who are all fixated on the same work, and reach out to family members, friends, and colleagues outside of their firms. Moving forward, Glenn hopes that bar associations will also play a greater role in providing lawyers with a sense of community. 

In enhancing her own mental health, Jane underscored the importance of setting and communicating boundaries with colleagues. She encouraged attendees not to cancel social plans for work except in the rare case of an emergency. Drawing on experience from her early career, Jane explained that by always saying yes to external requests, she had taught others that it was okay to overwork her. The lesson Jane derived from this experience was to treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. 

Ultimately, Glenn and Jane urged attendees to carve out time for themselves to participate in communities and activities that are wholly unrelated to the law. While Jane personally benefits from working out, writing fiction, and doing yoga, she encouraged lawyers to access their own creative and reflective sides in whatever way works for them. Janet concluded the fireside chat by appealing to the desire of all attendees to be good lawyers. Only by striking a proper work-life balance can attorneys be fully enthusiastic about their careers and clients. To this extent, valuing well-being in one’s own life can help us all become more present in the lives of those around us.

AABANY thanks Janet, Glenn, and Jane for sharing their insights and leading this dialogue on the ever-relevant topic of attorney well-being. To learn more about the Young Lawyers Committee and its work, click here.

Allen & Overy Hosts AABANY’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Members

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members at Allen & Overy. President Brian Song called the meeting to order and established quorum. Elections were held for the 2020 Board of Officers and Directors, along with a vote on bylaw revisions to clarify and extend term limits.

President Brian Song presented the Year in Review while Executive Director, Yang Chen, presented the report of the Committees. After the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occuring, Immediate Past President James R. Cho and President-Elect Sapna Palla tallied the votes.

The following officers were elected and will begin their term on April 1, 2020:

Terrence L. Shen
President-Elect

Tiffany Miao
Vice President, Programs and Operations

David Sohn
Vice President, Programs and Operations

Margaret Ling
Development Director

William Hao
Treasurer

Christopher Bae
Secretary

Beatrice Leong
Membership Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2020:

Jasmine Ball
Una A. Dean
Edward Y. Kim
Naf Kwun
Won Shin
Kazuko Wachter

Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board.

The bylaw revisions were passed.

The following awards were presented:

Committee of the Year: The Young Lawyers Committee

For their outstanding contributions in promoting AABANY’s mission and their service to our members and the community at large.

Program of the Year: The AABANY Trial Reenactments Project under the auspices of the Professional Development Committee 

For enhancing and contributing to public understanding and awareness of major contributions by Asian Americans to the social, political and legal history of the United States.

Member of the Year: Beatrice Leong

For her contributions to the growth of AABANY’s membership under her leadership as Membership Director.

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2019 fiscal year.

We would like to thank our members for attending and participating in the annual meeting, and we also thank John Hwang and Allen & Overy for hosting the meeting in a beautiful space, treating us to a delectable selection of food and drinks.

AABANY’s Annual Summer Picnic on August 17

On August 17th, AABANY members and their family, friends, and pets gathered at the Heckscher Picnic Area in Central Park for the AABANY Annual Picnic. The weather was fantastic the entire day, and everyone enjoyed mingling and connecting with old and new friends.

Attendees sampled an assortment of delicious dumplings and sandwiches from Vanessa’s Dumpling House, as well as fruit, baos, cupcakes, and pizza brought by the attendees. Various drinks and snacks were also provided for all attendees.

We occupied the picnic area from roughly 11 am until 4 pm, with most people coming between noon and 3 pm. We had to take two group photos because after we took the first photo, around 1:30 pm, more people showed up who were not part of the first photo.

Special thanks to the Young Lawyers Committee, and the co-chairs, Cynthia Lam, Darley Maw, and Ada Wang, for planning and organizing this fun event! Thanks also to the Litigation Committee for co-organizing the event. Thanks to everyone for coming and spending part of your Saturday with us at the Annual Picnic. To learn more about the Young Lawyers Committee, click here. To learn more about the Litigation Committee, click here.

June Membership Mixer Co-Sponsored by the Young Lawyers Committee

On Friday, June 28, 2019, AABANY’s Membership Committee and Young Lawyers Committee hosted a summer mixer with members, colleagues, and friends at Atwood in Midtown East.

Even with the whole mezzanine area to ourselves, we had no trouble packing out the spacious venue with over sixty young lawyers and law students who were eager to unwind from a long week, reconnect with old faces, and build new relationships. Members and non-members alike mingled over delicious platters of philly cheese egg rolls, chicken wings, fries, and grilled vegetables, all the while taking advantage of beer specials provided by the friendly staff at Atwood. Young lawyers shared their experiences with law firm and judicial interns who were eager to know what life after law school would be like. And colleagues caught up with one another regarding the work that they were doing in their respective fields, whether it be in-house, big law, smaller law firms, or working in government.

A special shout out to the crack team of Darley Maw, Cynthia Lam, and Ada Wang, co-chairs of the Young Lawyers Committee, who helped make this mixer a success. If you missed out on this great event, make sure to attend the next Membership Mixer on Thursday, July 18. 

The next Membership Mixer will take place on July 18. It will be co-sponsored by the Government Service and Public Interest Committee and the Prosecutors’ Committee. For more information, please click here.